Authorities won’t explain reinstatement of rapist-killer’s parole

giff_thumbDread has stalked Annette Rogers for 30 years, since her abusive former boyfriend, Jamie Giff (inset), first threatened to kill her in 1985. “I’m scared of him,” she says, her voice trembling. “I don’t care what anybody says.” Giff is a killer. He raped and stabbed to death a teenage girl in 1985. For the past three decades, Rogers fought, but ultimately failed, to keep him behind bars. She was horrified when she learned recently that Giff, free on parole, had done something that so alarmed his supervisor that he was taken into custody and his parole suspended. When he was freed a month later and his parole was reinstated, authorities cited privacy laws and refused to tell anyone, including Rogers, what happened. “So I sat here, vibrating, didn’t know what to do,” she says.

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“Aggressive, hostile,” double cop killer fails to overturn parole denial

thumb_ambroseAn imprisoned double cop killer sentenced to death 40 years ago has failed again in a bid to overturn a parole board decision that denied him freedom. Richard Ambrose, 66, is confined to a medium-security prison in British Columbia but he desperately wants out. He is “aggressive,”  “hostile,” “confrontational,” has threatened his lawyers and, recently, a psychologist concluded he is a “high risk” to reoffend, according to documents acquired from the Parole Board of Canada. In 1974, Ambrose (inset) and career criminal James Hutchison shot two Moncton, N.B. city police officers in the head and buried the bodies in shallow graves. Quickly caught and convicted, Ambrose and Hutchison were condemned to hang but the sentences were commuted to life in prison after the abolition of the death penalty in Canada. Ambrose has been rebuffed twice in the past three years in complaints to a parole appeal body.

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Shafia appeal hearing put off until 2016

Hamed ShafiaAs expected, Ontario’s top court has postponed a hearing of an appeal by three members of the Shafia family of Montreal, who were convicted of murdering four other family members in a mass honour killing. The hearing, originally scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario on Dec. 14, has been put off because of the surprise claim by one of the three convicted killers, Hamed Shafia (inset), who is bringing an application to admit fresh evidence.

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Youngest Shafia honour killer claims he was underage at time

Hamed ShafiaHamed Shafia (inset), the Montreal man convicted, along with his father and mother, of murdering four family members in what the trial judge called a “heinous” and “despicable” mass honour killing, is poised to present a new claim to Ontario’s top court in the appeal of his conviction. The youngest Shafia killer maintains that he was not 18 years old at the time of the murders on June 30, 2009, and he has documents newly obtained from Afghanistan, his birthplace, that purport to prove it, Cancrime learned.

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Convicted Shafia killers seek new trial, complain of “cultural stereotyping”

Mohammad ShafiaA Montreal father, mother and son convicted nearly four years ago of murdering four other family members in an honour killing argue, in an appeal to Ontario’s top court, that they were victims of “cultural stereotyping” and “overwhelmingly prejudicial evidence” that should not have been admitted at their murder trial. In a 110-page document filed with the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Mohammad Shafia, 62 (inset), his wife Tooba, 45, and their son Hamed, 24, claim they’re entitled to a new trial. The document is a concise outline of the evidence and legal argument that lawyers for the three will present at a hearing scheduled for Dec. 14.

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McDonald’s murders mastermind shows “some psychopathic traits”

Derek WoodThere is a kind of poetic brilliance in the sterile simplicity of written decisions of the Parole Board of Canada. The federal agency has the unenviable task of cataloguing horrors inflicted on society by figures who are both tragic and frightening. Derek Anthony Wood (inset) is one of these – a teenage mastermind of multiple murder. Wood was just 18 years old on May 7, 1992 when he and two accomplices set out to rob the McDonald’s Restaurant where he worked in tiny Sydney River, Nova Scotia. Wood believed, wrongly, that the safe held hundreds of thousands of dollars. The trio slaughtered three restaurant workers –shooting, stabbing and bludgeoning them – and left a fourth permanently disabled. They fled with roughly $2,000 but were soon caught and convicted. Wood, who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, appears to have “some psychopathic traits,”  according to the written record of his parole hearing (read document after the jump) convened earlier this year. He was denied any form of release.

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Serial child killer David Threinen’s reign of terror

Terror took root in central Saskatchewan on this day 40 years ago. On June 15, 1975, two children, 12-year-old Dahrlyne Cranfield and Robert Grubesic (inset), 9, disappeared while riding their bicycles along the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. Roughly a month later, Samantha Turner, 8, and Cathy Scott, 7, disappeared. Parents kept their children home behind locked doors. Finally, a tip led police to David Threinen, a truck driver with a history of sex attacks against children. He confessed and led officers to the bodies of his victims. He had strangled them and dumped them in two remote locations outside Saskatoon. A psychiatric report revealed in parole records (read document after the jump) would later describe Threinen as “a cold, amoral individual who felt compelled to offend sexually against children and who experienced no remorse for his victims even when he killed them.”

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Murder rate in Canada plunges to 47-year low

The rate at which Canadians are being murdered dropped in 2013 to its lowest level in 47 years, according to Statistics Canada. Nationally, there were 1.44 victims per 100,000 people in 2013, down eight per cent from 1.56 in 2012 and the lowest rate recorded since 1966. In 2013, 505 people were killed (includes murder, manslaughter, infanticide) in Canada, meaning that a nation of 35 million people had fewer killings than Los Angeles County (population 10 million), which recorded 595 homicides in 2013. The murder rate in the U.S. has generally been about three times higher than the rate in Canada for some time. Canada’s highest murder rate recorded since 1963 was in 1977, when it hit 3.0, according to StatsCan.

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Lessons for Calgary from a failed, body-less murder prosecution

Robert BaltovichThere is a name – Robert Baltovich – that Calgary Police homicide investigators likely are loath to consider as they hunt the bodies of three murder victims. Baltovich (inset) is a member of an exclusive club in Canadian criminal history: a man convicted of murder in the absence of the body of a victim, who was later was exonerated. Baltovich was convicted of second-degree murder in 1992, although police had not found the body of his purported victim, his girlfriend Elizabeth Bain. The 22-year-old Toronto woman disappeared in 1990. Baltovich spent eight years in prison. In 2008, he was acquitted after a second trial. Baltovich is suing, claiming malicious prosecution, in a case that soon will pass the quarter century mark and that exemplifies the difficulties of a prosecution in which authorities lack a critical piece of evidence, the body of the victim. Elizabeth Bain’s remains have never been found. In Calgary, nearly two months have elapsed since the disappearance of Alvin Liknes, 66, his wife Kathryn, 53, and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O’Brien. Police have said that their bodies have not been found. Despite this, investigators concluded that the three were murdered. Douglas Garland, a 54-year-old man with business and personal ties to the victims and a criminal record, has been charged with the murders.

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Notorious child sex killer Duane Taylor murdered in prison

Duane TaylorA child sex killer who was possessed by deviant desires to molest and harm children beginning in his youth, has been murdered in a prison in Manitoba, according to Winnipeg Free Press crime reporter Mike McIntyre. Duane Taylor (inset) is notorious in Kingston, Ontario, where he raped and murdered a two-year-old girl, April Morrison, in 1981. Taylor has been behind bars since his conviction for first-degree murder in April’s slaying, a crime that rocked the small eastern Ontario city. (UPDATE: A 25-year-old inmate at Stony Mountain Institution is charged with murdering Taylor).

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